“Empathic thinker, hands-on growth-driver, appreciating the beauty of small things – let’s explore the world together!”
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany
Fun Fact About Yourself: At the age of 14 I worked for Germany’s second-biggest television channel as a news reporter.
Undergraduate School and Major: Hamburg School of Business Administration, Media Management
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Mignon (Large-scale corporate experiences), Head of Marketing and Sales
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: To manage the turnaround of Mignon, I had to work beyond my job description and become an innovator. Analyzing the data from employee interviews and hundreds of client interactions, my team was able to identify and deliver operational improvements to increase revenue by 900% in four years. Moving forward, I realize that after a decade of making the most of the operational challenges in front of me, I’m now ready to start creating the future. Learning big-picture management expertise at Oxford will enable me to be a more effective manager — from ideation to strategy and execution.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Authentic. This word is often overused, but I believe it adequately depicts the most important trait of my fellow MBAs classmates and the wider Oxford community. Every single person you meet has a genuine story to tell and knows where his or her roots are. This brings collaboration to a level of down-to-earth, humble and truly novel interactions. Also, I feel this is the ground for life-long friendships.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Oxford University. 20,000 fellow, intellectually-curious students and a world-class ecosystem of researchers and spinouts make Oxford a novel place to dive into the world of global business. This enables collaboration on a genuine level that I intend to leverage to its fullest potential: In term one, I teamed up with a Ph.D. student in robotics to help a Dutch A.I. startup develop a go-to-to market strategy. In term two, I will be on a team with material science Ph.D. students to develop an innovative product strategy for a global textile brand. Together with three fellow MBA students, we’ve founded a pre-seed venture capital vehicle and scout Oxford spinouts as investment opportunities. I’m thankful to be a part of the Oxford community of like-minded collaborators.
What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? Oxford breathes thought leadership. Leaders from all over the world come to share their thinking, get inspiration, and open up collaboration to work on a better tomorrow together. During the first three months of the program, we hosted Bob Iger (CEO of Disney), Muhtar Kent (former CEO Coca-Cola), Paul Pohlman (former CEO Unilever), Patrick Pichette (former CFO Google) and fashion designer Calvin Klein. Yet, the most inspiring person I met was Dr. Katharina Barley, currently Vice President of the European Parliament. I was impressed by her genuine view on the world of politics and her intuitive way to make up her mind based on her value system. Having dinner with Dr. Barley reminded me about my roots and led me to reflect on what kind of leader I want to be. I’m very thankful to the eco-system of Oxford to create these very personal moments of learning at the front of the world’s thought leadership.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Consider a trend that shocks you. What would you do to change it for the better?”
As a young business manager, I feel comfortable to optimize micro-systems. For example, when I’m tasked to build up a marketing and sales platform, I can forget the world around me and focus solely to set up this particular micro-system. At Oxford, however, we are reminded every day about the interconnectivity of business and the environment on a macro-level. Our professors challenge us to think big picture first, accept the messiness of the world, understand interconnectivities and then leverage them so we can build business applications mutually benefitting the environment and business. For me, this thought journey started in the application process with the question “Consider a trend that shocks you. What would you do to change it for the better?”. This question was an invitation, to start breaking out of my “marketing and sales funnel” and start thinking about the interconnectivity of my function, my skills, and real-world impact.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I was 18, I volunteered to build an after-school circus academy in Ukraine. Yet, on day one I found myself alone in a rural village where I couldn’t speak a word of the local dialect. I faced 60 children running, screaming, and throwing their juggling balls as missiles. When I was about to give up, I saw a red rope lying on the floor. I arranged the rope in a circle, and the children all gathered around it, waiting to see what I would do next. Once I started using a language we all understood, the students could finally start learning new skills. I used to think that being a leader meant telling people what to do and winning admiration for your skill. My experience in Ukraine taught me that true leadership is creating a common ground, where everybody can contribute their skills and feel that their perspectives are understood.
Where do you see yourself doing ten years from now? Living up to the spirit of my MBA at the University of Oxford, I intend to define my place in the world through rigor, continuous learning, and working hand-in-hand with the brightest minds for lasting impact. Consulting gives me the opportunity to put my intellectual curiosity to work while having a global impact to work on a better tomorrow. In the long-term, my highest aspiration is to build a company that transforms entire industries. Ten years from now, I’ll be empowered to turn ideas into reality — whether I’m matching Ukrainian health workers to elderly patients in Germany or designing a global framework for data privacy.